Wednesday, 31 January 2007
Thinking about it, it was rather odd that I had to chuck a daddy long-legs outside when I got home from school this evening... Not what you expect in January!
And while we're on the subject of global warming and climate change...
One of the four parcels I received today contained some impressive posters for the Ice Edge competition I mentioned a while back. The idea is that teams of 2-4 students come up with an interesting and original idea to save the planet... And if your idea's the best, you win a trip to the Arctic! HOW GREAT WOULD THAT BE?!
Check out the competition's website: http://www.iceedge.co.uk/docs/home.php and get your thinking caps on!! The competition's stiff - there are twice as many teams registered now as when I first posted about the competition... But if I know you lot, your ideas will be up there with the best of them!! Come and see me if you want to know any more...
Tuesday, 30 January 2007
Tony Cassidy and Alan Parkinson (aka GeoBlogs) have been teaching the Pilot GCSE this year, and part of the course requires the study of an "Extreme Environment". Tony went for Antarctica, and Alan for Svalbard - both of them have been blogging for their students, and both blogs have some excellent links and resources (as well as other interesting geographical things) that will be useful to you...
A number of people - students and otherwise - have suggested that they would leave comments if they didn't have to have a Google account... This has been something I've thought lots about, but wanted to avoid allowing dodgy people to post dodgy things!
But... I have managed (I think!) to set things up so that anyone can leave a comment - Google account or not - but they still come to me first for moderation...
So, get commenting!! Try to leave your first name and year group, or initials, though, so I know who's who!
Monday, 29 January 2007
Click here to find out more about the biggest church in Iceland...
Sunday, 28 January 2007
So, keep reading, get other people reading, and LEAVE SOME COMMENTS!!
Friday, 26 January 2007
Click on the picture for the story from the BBC, or here to visit the new Beijing store!
Make the most of the penguins though... they'll be off soon as winter approaches...
Wednesday, 24 January 2007
However, if you are reading - good luck for tomorrow afternoon! And remember, that most important piece of advice - READ THE QUESTION! (And answer the question that is being asked...).
Tom Biebrach is a geography teacher at Pencoed Comprehensive School in Wales, and his school is linked to Kabundi High School in Chingola, Zambia.
Tom is in Zambia at the moment, visiting Kabundi, and is blogging about his experiences (including technical IT issues when he was doing a presentation in assembly... sounds familiar!).
My Yr8s will be hearing some of Tom's diary in the next few days, but it makes very interesting reading for everyone else as well... Pencoed Kabundi Link
If you think you know, email email@example.com or bring your entry to H5 before the end of school on Monday...
An Epic Journey
Meander Map Nottingham
I think I quite fancy having a go at a Meander Map!
Adele is also trying to get more funding for the Trolley Spotting project - so keep checking back for trolleys in other places!
Tuesday, 23 January 2007
Reading the comments that have been sent in by Independent readers, it seems I'm not on my own!
Does toothpaste really need to be in a plastic tube AND a cardboard box? Are pizzas better for being packed in a polystyrene tray with a plastic wrapper and a cardboard box?
And although Sainsbury's sell some of their organic fruit and vegetables in compostable trays, the majority of this unneccessary packaging cannot be recycled.
The comments from the supermarkets are interesting as well... "We are committed to making sure packaging is not excessive." (Tesco)... "We already have a target to reduce our packaging..." (Sainsbury's)... "We plan to minimise packaging in the first instance and transfer the remaining packaging to biodegradable." (Waitrose). One reader had commented on the USB memory stick she'd bought from Staples - in a cardboard box, shrink-wrapped, in a plastic display case and a further plastic storage box. Staples declined to comment!
The good news is that the Environment Minister (Ben Bradshaw) and the Secretary of State for the Environment (David Miliband), as well as a number of other politicians, have expressed their concern and are backing the Independent's campaign...
So... what can we do about it?
The politicians suggest that we write to our local councils and the Trading Standards Authority and "shop the shops".
I once wrote to Marks and Spencer, returning some packaging to them that I couldn't recycle, and asking them to dispose of it in an environmentally-friendly manner... I never heard from them... I guess the packaging went to a landfill site...
Some people suggest unwrapping everything you buy in the supermarket, and leaving the packaging at the checkout - I've not been brave enough to do this yet!
Perhaps avoid buying products with unneccessary packaging? Then you end up (assuming you keep shopping in supermarkets) in the situation that I did the other day... Broccoli grown in Lincolnshire in a plastic, cling-film wrapped tray? Or broccoli grown in Kenya in a compostable wrapper? (Interestingly, it was the Kenyan broccoli, and not the Lincolnshire-grown, that was organic!)
So... packaging... food miles... organic... and then when you bring Fairtrade into the equation... What a complicated world we live in these days!!
Leave a comment and let us know about excessive packaging you've experienced... And more importantly, any great ideas you've got for dealing with the problem and getting the supermarkets to change their ways!
Monday, 22 January 2007
Tesco is Britain's biggest retailer - taking more than £1 of every £8 spent on the high street, and apparently the Oxfordshire town of Bicester (population 30,000) has 6 Tesco stores!
But why is this story making the news? These stores have made things much more convenient for shoppers, we can buy anything and everything - nice and cheap, and they've created lots of jobs... Surely these are good things?? Or is there more to it...?
What do you think the effects of the growth of Tesco are? Who do you think might not be so keen on "Tescopoly"? Do YOU think Tesco's growth is a good thing? Why or why not?
Whilst I was looking for the news story, I also came across this site, which makes interesting reading!
Click on the picture for the full story...
Saturday, 20 January 2007
Although the Pole of Inaccessibility has been reached before, the team of Russian scientists who visited in 1958 used snow-tracked vehicles to get there.
Whilst the UK team wait to be collected, they plan to dig for the hut that the Russians are reputed to have built, on top of which stands a life-size bust of Lenin!
Click on the picture for the full story, or here for the team's website (if you don't like feet, don't click... you've been warned!!).
Thursday, 18 January 2007
The red areas on the map show where severe weather warnings were issued by the Met Office. Click on the map to visit their website, where you can check out the latest forecast together with satellite images and pressure charts.
Whilst my hour-long journey home and collapsed garden fence are annoying and inconvenient, I was very lucky compared to many people.
According to the BBC, at least 7 people have been killed, and others injured. Thousands of people have been left without power, ports have been closed and roads blocked -
resulting in traffic chaos. The picture above will take you to the main story on the BBC website, where you can also find other photos and news clips of the weather.
And it's not going to get much better next week, it seems... According to Sian Lloyd, temperatures on Monday will be "bone-bitingly cold"... And we might even see some snow!
Wednesday, 17 January 2007
Thanks to Mrs K for letting me know about this story!
Newsround have a project going on at the moment where they are asking people to send in photographs of the weather where they live...
So, get out there with your camera, and send them some pictures! More details here...
Whilst we're talking about the weather, you'll recall my post about the ice storms in the US the other day... Well, the picture shows another of the effects of this cold weather - click on the picture for the full story.
The BBC also has a story today about Britain being "braced for heavy storms"... Oh dear!
Monday, 15 January 2007
Click on the picture to go to the site, and make sure you're watching tomorrow...
What causes these ice storms? What conditions are needed for them to occur? What other effects do they have?
While you're on the British Library site, check out the London: A Life in Maps exhibition they've got on at the moment.
Saturday, 13 January 2007
Let us know if you spot any geogtastic stories!
There are loads of ideas on the website to get you started, together with all the details of how to enter, and you've got until 16th March to get your ideas in.
Friday, 12 January 2007
This is one of a range of problems in China, blamed on the One Child Policy which was introduced by the Chinese government in 1980 to reduce the rapidly increasing population.
Click on the picture for the story from the BBC, where there is also an excellent "In Depth" guide looking at lots of other China stories...
The tuk-tuks, which run on compressed natural gas and can travel at 35mph, are described as being a "fresh transport system" and according to Mark Self who is the managing director of the taxi company behind the plans says that the vehicles are "novel, environmentally-friendly and quick".
Click on the picture for the full story from the BBC.
Two million tonnes of shingle (stones, shells and flint) were dredged from Poole Harbour, and dumped on the famous golden sands at Bournemouth, in order to provide "a sturdier coastal defence" and protect coastal properties.
But businesses in the area are already suffering, according to owners of local surf shops and clubs - the shingle, apparently, has changed the shape of the waves so that they are no longer suitable for surfing.
Dr David Harlow, the council's coastal protection expert, claims that if the work had not been carried out, then 3000 properties and 100 cliff-top businesses would be at risk of falling into the sea.
The pictures show Bournemouth before and after... What do you think of the change? Worthwhile or a waste of money?
How much would you be worth if you were the opposite gender? Older or younger? Or if you happened to be born in a different part of the world?
Thursday, 11 January 2007
(At least, it was 22.14 on my computer clock... Blogger is obviously in its own time zone!)
If they are correct (and I somehow doubt they are!), the penguin-moving people have been busy today!If, for some reason, you are not already addicted and visiting the webcam several times a day, click on the picture...
Wednesday, 10 January 2007
Quotes from Mr Blair's interview with Sky News included:
"It's like telling people you shouldn't drive anywhere"
"I'm not going to be in a situation of saying I'm not going to take holidays abroad or use air-travel. It's just not practical."
Yr11 had some interesting views on this today... Read the full story here and then let us know what you think! Should Tony and Cherie be spending their summers in Skeggie?! Or should they carry on jetting halfway round the world? (After all, an aeroplane a couple of times a year is nothing when there are all these factories in China pumping out nasty greenhouse gases!)
And speaking of greenhouse gases... The EU have announced new plans today to tackle climate change... Read all about them here... It's well worth having a look at the comments people have sent in as well - some interesting views!
Tuesday, 9 January 2007
It is great to know that so many people - geographers and nearly-geographers - are visiting and reading...
What would be even better is if more people (pupils especially!) were leaving comments... Answer some questions, ask some questions, or just tell us your thoughts and opinions!
Here's to the next 1000 visits!
The website has descriptions of recent activity, together with lots of very recent photographs. You can also look at photographs and details from previous eruptions and read more about the area, the observatory and its work.
The photograph shows pyroclastic flows entering Tyres Ghaut and Gages Valley, together with "vigorous ash venting". Click on the picture to go to the MVO website.
Thanks to my dad for pointing out this website... (Still not a webcam though - have you got it sorted yet Yr9?!)
Monday, 8 January 2007
The last few days, however, have seen heavy snowfall, and this - combined with strong winds - has resulted in avalanches in Colorado, USA, and in the Alps.
What locals described as a "massive avalanche" and one of the biggest avalanches they'd seen, pushed two cars off a mountain pass in the US state of Colorado and buried them with their occupants inside. Fortunately, all of them were rescued. Click on the picture for the story from CNN.
The story from the Alps is less happy - at least eight people, including two experienced French skiers, have been killed in a series of avalanches. The picture below, showing rescuers in the resort of Val d'Isere, will take you to the BBC news coverage.
Check out this site from the US National Park Service to find out more about avalanches and what causes them...
Sunday, 7 January 2007
This week's edition tells of an ash plume from the Soufriere Hills volcano on Montserrat, which has resulted in the island being put on high alert, and hundreds of people being evacuated.
It also reports of snakes in China being observed for unusual behaviour - which would be a sure sign of an earthquake on the way...
Saturday, 6 January 2007
For those of you who are still upset that I wouldn't play you "Old St. Helen" again on Friday, you can download it here!
You can also see what's happening at Mt St Helen's and a number of other volcanoes around the world via these webcams... (There might not be much to see, depending on the time you visit... remember it is nighttime in some of theses places when it's daytime here!)
Armed with a GPS and camera, Adele went trolley-spotting in Nottingham, London and Portsmouth, and has mapped the locations of the abandoned trolleys she spotted, as well as other interesting discarded objects.What else could be mapped in this way? How about starting your own equivalent of the trolley-spotting project?!
Chris Prettejohn has an excellent list of links on his website, including the websites of the Thames Gateway and BedZED. The Global Eye article is where Resources 1 and 2 came from, and is well worth a look. My group will be seeing some of these links in lessons in the next couple of weeks...
Also, don't forget about Unlimited Spurt!
Or, if you don't fancy reading, go here to listen to Pauline telling you about NET - Nottingham Express Transit System...
You can "Listen Again" to the programme here.
One of the things that the G-Team looked at was MyWalks - a project set up by Dr Duncan Fuller, a geographer at the University of Northumbria. Here is the description of the project from the website:
"'Mywalks' is about (re-)engaging with our immediate urban, day-to-day, city, country, local, taken-for-granted environments and geographies through the medium of photography and audiography.Why? For the simple reason that all too often we don’t – we autopilot on ipods, get into our cars and turn the stereo up, dash from place to place, focus on where we’re going, not where we are (and what is there). So mywalks is about paying more attention to the streets, places, and spaces we walk through..."
Visit the website, read all about it, and then open your eyes and get involved!!
There was also an article in The Times the other day about the MyWalks project.
Tuesday, 2 January 2007
The question about building Windsor Castle in the flightpath of Heathrow reminded me of a website I found yesterday while planning Yr9 lessons (and unfortunately I didn't save) - which asked "Why do so many volcanoes occur in densely populated areas?"
Monday, 1 January 2007
Click here for the full story, including an explanation of El Nino and how it affects the climate.
How will this affect Romanians and Bulgarians?
How will it affect the rest of the EU?